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Mardi Gras Fest draws international musicians to Baton Rouge

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BATON ROUGE - The sound of drums and the rhythm of the guitar drew thousands to North Boulevard Town Square on Saturday.

"I found a way to do some things culturally in the community," said Henry Turner Jr., founder of Mardi Gras Fest.

Turner is a musician, and he was center stage Saturday afternoon during the 10th Annual Mardi Gras Fest, where music brought out more of the meaning behind the holiday.

"Mardi Gras is more than just parades. It's more than just drinking. There's great music, there's great dancing, there's so much going on," said Lenny Bollingham, a good friend of Turner.

Bollingham says the festival brings more diversity to the city.

"It's a cultural and entertainment melting pot," Bollingham said.

"Melting pot... it's like a gumbo," said Ruban Bertrands, a Belgian musician.

Bertrands says it's the sounds he's heard here and the blend of genres that's drawn him in to Louisiana's Mardi Gras festivities.

"Influenced by New Orleans and Louisiana," Bertrands said.

Bertrands isn't the only one Turner wants to make an impact on. Blending everything from blues, funk and reggae, the founder says he wants youth to use their creativity to go above and beyond.

"What I'd like to do is be able to motivate the next generation to be bigger and better," Turner said.


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